But first, this breaking news...a computer virus has found its way into the computers at Good Karma sports WKNR/850 in Cleveland!
It has apparently infected the computer automation system at WKNR, re-populating the on-air system with items voiced by former WKNR program director Michael Luczak.
"W32.Luczak.KNR"'s first damage was heard Tuesday night, during the opening of WKNR's pre-game broadcast for the Cleveland State Vikings basketball contest. OMW hears that Good Karma Virus Removal technicians are frantically applying anti-virus updates to stem the infection.
OK, enough joking here.
After all those changes to Cleveland's once-lagging sports talk radio station this week, we kept thinking of two words: "no brainer".
By this point in time, one Mr. Craig Karmazin - the "young guy" in charge of the Good Karma sports radio empire - has had enough ownership experience to know What Needed To Be Done(tm).
And just about everything he's done fits a pattern that pretty much anyone with a certain amount of radio experience could have done:
THE IMAGING CHANGE: Just the mere use of iconic sports radio voice Paul Turner makes WKNR sound ten times more professional. It's something that should have been done years ago, but we suppose Mr. Luczak had to do something to keep himself busy...
RIZZO ON THE RADIO: That is, the addition of FOX 8 sports anchor and experienced sports talk radio host Tony Rizzo to the daily lineup. It fits an established and successful sports radio pattern - TV sports anchors host local radio talk shows all over the country, including on Good Karma's own sister station in Milwaukee. And in this case, Rizzo is no radio novice, and comes with a built-in following...
LOCAL SPORTS TALK AT NIGHT: The move of Greg Brinda into the 6-9 PM time slot provides the station with another shot at a ready sports audience, though it's a tough climb against actual sports play-by-play - and an established local sports talk show - on Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100.
But as a whole, it "extends" WKNR's hours into the awareness of sports fans who follow games at night, and provides a smooth platform to go into the station's locally-produced post-game shows for the Indians and Cavaliers, not to mention sports events like Ohio State and Cleveland State basketball that actually air on the station.
Those, and other changes, were very basic.
Mr. Karmazin has hinted at this on the air, saying the changes were "the first step" in the revamping of a long-dormant sports talk radio station, and that if future changes are needed, he'll make them.
Our sense: He'll see how the revamped lineup and sound, and other changes, affect listenership.
But he's not afraid to change "mid-stream".
After he got settled in at WKNR sister station WAUK/1510 "ESPN Milwaukee", Karmazin almost literally jumped at the chance to lure Milwaukee's biggest sports radio name - Steve "The Homer" True - from Clear Channel talk WISN/1130, after that station basically exiled him to late nights to add Sean Hannity's nationally syndicated talk show.
He managed to bring True over, despite the fact that his primary Milwaukee signal is a daytime outlet - and the nighttime clearance provided by leased time on WMCS/1290 doesn't cover hours before 6 PM, which means the afternoon drive show goes off the air (at least in Milwaukee) early in the winter hours.
We're not suggesting that Karmazin is making a shopping list with anyone from, say, WTAM on the list. The station doesn't have an equivalent to Milwaukee's "Homer", in our opinion. But... he's clearly on the lookout for talent improvement.
The true test of Mr. Karmazin's WKNR ownership will come when he is prompted to make decisions that aren't "no brainers"...
Semi-related: OMW has heard from Paul Belfi, who runs formerly-WKNR-connected sports talk website SportsTalkCleveland.com. He weighs in on the changes...
I am ABSOLUTELY DELIGHTED to see what is happening with WKNR. There are many people that work there that I consider friends - obviously Kenny Roda and I are best friends to this day. And in all honesty, I was nervous about what was going to happen there.
I know Kenny is excited about the changes, and the move downtown.
I've always been a Tony Rizzo fan as well - he's priceless and cracks me up. He is a fan first, and I respect that.
I am very pleased that some of the rumors of Greg's 'demise' were just that - rumors. He's a friend as well, and I think 6-9 will be great for him.
Even though I own STC - I am a different media platform than radio, obviously. And at the end of the day, I am a sports fan and a sports talk junkie. As such, what WKNR is doing is nothing but a positive for the Cleveland sports fans, and I wish them nothing but the best.
Belfi tells us that former WKNR host Kendall Lewis is staying aboard as midday host at SportsTalkCleveland.com, along with his new gig as co-host of FSN Ohio's "Cleveland Rants" with WKNR fill-in Les Levine.
He also tells us he's "happy" for ex-WKNR host Bruce Drennan's apparently in-the-works deal to host a show on SportsTime Ohio.
But will Drennan return to STC? Says Belfi:
I look to Bruce as a mentor, and I have nothing but respect and a high regard for him as a broadcaster - and more importantly, as a friend. I am not sure if he will be able to continue with us at STC when he is back. He is welcome to, and I would love to have him here, but the decision will be his. Either way, I am fine with it. He's gone through a lot, and deserves some peace of mind.
One other thought came to mind when we were talking about Karmazin's Milwaukee signal situation.
The Good Karma boss has solved his signal problem in Cleveland by buying powerful 24 hour outlet WKNR. Or has he?
We wonder if he's satisfied with his second signal, daytimer WWGK/1540, now called "KNR2". If the station will act as an overflow for WKNR programming, how useful can that be with a daytime signal - particularly with a lot of sporting events taking place at night?
We have gone into the "Why 1540 Can't Go 24 Hours" discussion many times. But we wonder if Karmazin is STILL interested in other options for that WKNR sister station.
We've heard nothing. It's just a thought...